Authors : Nadine Levin, Sabina Leonelli, Dagmara Weckowska, David Castle, John Dupré
This article documents how biomedical researchers in the United Kingdom understand and enact the idea of “openness.”
This is of particular interest to researchers and science policy worldwide in view of the recent adoption of pioneering policies on Open Science and Open Access by the U.K. government—policies whose impact on and implications for research practice are in need of urgent evaluation, so as to decide on their eventual implementation elsewhere.
This study is based on 22 in-depth interviews with U.K. researchers in systems biology, synthetic biology, and bioinformatics, which were conducted between September 2013 and February 2014.
Through an analysis of the interview transcripts, we identify seven core themes that characterize researchers’ understanding of openness in science and nine factors that shape the practice of openness in research.
Our findings highlight the implications that Open Science policies can have for research processes and outcomes and provide recommendations for enhancing their content, effectiveness, and implementation.
Authors : Robert Johnson, Stephen Pinfield, Mattia Fosci
As open access (OA) publication of research outputs becomes increasingly common and is mandated by institutions and research funders, it is important to understand different aspects of the costs involved.
This paper provides an early review of administrative costs incurred by universities in making research outputs OA, either via publication in journals (“Gold” OA), involving payment of article-processing charges (APCs), or via deposit in repositories (“Green” OA).
Using data from 29 UK institutions, it finds that the administrative time, as well as the cost incurred by universities, to make an article OA using the Gold route is over 2.5 times higher than Green. Costs are then modeled at a national level using recent UK policy initiatives from Research Councils UK and the Higher Education Funding Councils’ Research Excellence Framework as case studies.
The study also demonstrates that the costs of complying with research funders’ OA policies are considerably higher than where an OA publication is left entirely to authors’ discretion.
Key target areas for future efficiencies in the business processes are identified and potential cost savings calculated. The analysis is designed to inform ongoing policy development at the institutional and national levels.
The overall aim of public academic science communication is to engage a non-scientist with a particular field of science and/or research topic, often driven by the expertise of the academic.
An e-survey was designed to provide insight into respondent’s current and future engagement with science communication activities. Respondents provided a wide range of ideas and concerns as to the ‘common practice’ of academic science communication, and whilst they support some of these popular approaches (such as open-door events and science festivals), there are alternatives that may enable wider engagement.
Suggestions of internet-based approaches and digital media were strongly encouraged, and although respondents found merits in methods such as science festivals, limitations such as geography, time and topic of interest were a barrier to engagement for some.
Academics and scientists need to think carefully about how they plan their science communication activities and carry out evaluations, including considering the point of view of the public, as although defaulting to hands-on open door events at their university may seem like the expected standard, it may not be the best way to reach the intended audience.
« Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Higher Education Funding Councils are the two most significant providers of public funding for research in the UK. Both have recently introduced new requirements for UK research organisations to make their published outputs openly accessible. Research Consulting was commissioned by London Higher and SPARC Europe to undertake this study of the costs to research organisations of implementing these requirements. »
« Recent Open Access (OA) policy developments in the United Kingdom (UK) have caused stakeholders such as universities and academic libraries to have to consider how to adapt to distinct funders OA policies and to ensure compliance with those policies. Following an independent study on ‘how to expand access to research publications’, also referred to as the Finch Report, the UK Government adopted a new OA policy and the Research Councils UK (RCUK) revised their OA policy. The newly adopted OA policies require research findings to be made OA through publication in open access or hybrid journals (Gold OA). More recently, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) announced that its OA policy for the next Research Evaluation Framework (REF) – the system that assesses UK universities research – will require the deposit of research findings in institutional or subject repositories (Green OA). By and large, the two distinct paths being currently promoted by the UK Government and RCUK (Gold OA) and the Funding Councils (Green OA) require that continued efforts be made to ensure that advice and support are provided to universities, academic libraries and researchers. They also require that coordinated efforts endure so that progress towards making research findings freely available online continues. Despite the distinct OA policies adopted by policymakers and national research funders, the UK’s movement towards OA has been a result of stakeholders coordinated efforts and is considered a case of good practice. »
« The UK Research Councils (RCUK) introduced an open access policy, and accompanying funding for Article Processing Charges (APCs), in April 2013. This article describes University College London (UCL)’s experience of managing its institutional, RCUK, and Wellcome Trust open access funds, and highlights its success in exceeding the RCUK target in the first year of the policy. A large institution, processing around 1,770 APCs in 2013–2014, UCL has established a dedicated Open Access Funding Team. As well as advising authors on funders’ and publishers’ requirements, managing payments, and liaising with publishers, the Team delivers a comprehensive open access advocacy programme throughout the institution. Researchers who have used the Team’s services show astonishing levels of enthusiasm for open access, and for UCL’s approach to supporting them. »
« This paper provides an analysis of the attitudes and activities of UK medical research charities in relation to open access (OA). Both quantitative and qualitative data are presented derived from a recent survey of charities covering areas such as policy development, funding arrangements, and business process design for OA. Positions on key issues including green and gold OA, funding article-processing charges (APCs), and publication licences are assessed. Modelling of potential APCs as a percentage of overall annual research spend is undertaken to show possible costs of a charged for gold system. Medical research charities clearly regard OA as important and some see it as an opportunity to further their mission. However, many expressed significant concerns particularly about the costs and expertise required to support OA. Further co-ordination of policy development and action across the sector and with other stakeholders is recommended in order to help ensure optimal implementation of OA. »